Random life updates

Do any of you follow the story threads of our lives and then wonder what happened since we forgot to update?  Here’s some updates:

Little Kitty’s IBS and health:

  • She had idiopathic elevated calcium levels (meaning they don’t know why).  This was the best possible outcome since the other outcomes where they know were all bad.  First she got steroids for two weeks.  Then she got taken off the hydrolized diet and put on a low calcium diet and now her tummy seems to be all better.  No more IBS even when she steals her favorite people food (chicken).  It is mysterious.
  • Once her calcium levels got balanced, she got to have her teeth cleaned.  Unfortunately 7 teeth also had to be pulled.  Also it is insane how even though these costs are expensive, they are waaay less expensive than costs of the same thing in paradise.

DH’s relatives:

  • The one with the abusive baby daddy has moved back home.  She’s not getting along with her dad because he says she frequently does dangerous things when taking care of her son and he tells her not to.  Her step-mom is doing well with chemo and is really enjoying taking care of the baby while her step-daughter works at the Walmart a few towns over.  I have no idea how the menu planning stuff went down or if now that the oldest girl is back she’s taken over some of the responsibilities.
  • The other one who was a teen mom is still living with her two kids with her husband near her biological mom across the country.  She seems to be doing fine.

Kitty saga:

  • I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but my sister ended up taking a second kitten from our back-yard cat saga since we were only allowed to take two cats with us to Paradise.  Her two still love each other and my sister seems to have bonded with them.  Problem:  her new roommate brought a bully cat and boy kitty started peeing on things in protest.  So now her two cats stay in her bedroom suite during the day, mostly sleeping while the bully cat roams the rest of the house.  :(

DC1 at public school:

  • In the end, DC1 transitioned well to public school for 5th grade in Paradise.  I think it was good that it was still an elementary school.
  • Zie seems to be doing fine at middle school for 6th grade so far this year.  Zie has to do some testing to get admitted to the GT pull-out program.   One of hir friends from private school is in orchestra with hir, which helps.  They should both transition from 5th grade orchestra to 6th grade orchestra at the semester.  (DC1 decided against another year of trumpet, which means zie has to have weekly violin lessons to ease the transition since zie is a year behind.  Zie is surprisingly not that awful– much better than my memories of that first year of my sister practicing.)
  • Zie tested into 7th grade advanced math, which is really nice.  This and orchestra are two big advantages over private school.  I do miss having a foreign language though.  DC1 had Spanish as an after school program last year (they also had French, but only for native speakers(!), so we dropped that), but it doesn’t appear that anything like that is available here.
  • The after school program is cheap ($115/mo and goes until 6:30pm) and the bus stop is literally at the corner of our house.  For now we’re doing after school instead of having hir take the bus home so we don’t have to worry about hir being latch-key when DH is out of town for work.  The law in our state is vague… it basically says, you’re ok so long as something bad doesn’t happen, but if something bad happens you made the wrong decision.  If we still had a home phone I’d feel a bit better about a latch-key situation.  If we do go latch-key DC1 will need a cell-phone.


  • Returning to the Montessori here has been great.  So great we decided not to start K this year and to leave hir in Montessori another year.  Then we may skip K next year if zie doesn’t get into the dual-language program.  We’re playing it by ear a year at a time.
  • Zie really does miss hir friends, but many of them were heading off to public school anyway (either K or Pre-K), so…  And we’re happy zie is back to more academics and less of the creepy religious stuff.  (Nothing against non-creepy religious stuff, but even though DC1 and DC2 both attended a year of preschool from the same Lutheran branch, DC1’s was not at all creepy and DC2’s was full of not preschool appropriate stories.  Just comparing the children’s bibles they each got was pretty crazy.  Like, it wasn’t our imagination.)  Hir reading and math abilities have skyrocketed since we got back.

I think those are the big things in my online blog persona life.  If anybody cares.

Costs of sick kitties

Little Kitty needed to get her teeth cleaned.  So DH took her to the vet.

Before they could give her anesthesia, they had to do $600 worth of tests.

Unfortunately, one of the tests came back with elevated calcium levels.  So no anesthesia.  No teeth cleaning.

Instead, more tests.

First, a test for what kind of elevated calcium it was, since only the ionized kind is bad.   $214.70 and a few days time for the calcium test.

She has elevated ionized calcium.  :(

The next step is to see if she has parathyroid problems or stomach cancer.  Test for parathyroid:  $950.  Ultrasound for cancer:  $1000.  (Plus a few days to work up the estimates.)

That’s a lot of money.

So our next step is to ask what the treatment options are if either of these cost money, and what those treatments will do to Little Kitty.  If they’re things that can be fixed with minimal harm to her, then we’ll pay for the tests and the treatment.  But if they’re things where the treatment is as bad as the disease, then well, it might be best not to know.  Because kitties don’t understand what’s going on with them and they’re not gaining an additional 30 years with a successful cancer treatment, especially not older kitties.

Right now Little Kitty seems to be in high spirits.  Other than being a bit skinny and the occasional bout of IBS whenever she eats something she shouldn’t, she *seems* fine.

Still, the parathyroid thing would explain the IBS.  And elevated calcium levels do need to be treated so as not to cause problems with the kidneys.

If these $2000 turn up nothing, there will probably be more tests.  If they turn up something, then there will be more money for treatment (probably surgery, according to Dr. Google).  How much money is too much?  What is Little Kitty’s life worth?

Right now we’re fortunate to be able to say that Little Kitty is more important than a kitchen renovation.

It is going to be an expensive summer.

Kitty IBS

About a year ago (before the move), our older kitty, Little Kitty started throwing up occasionally and having diarrhea.

We took her to the vet.

The vet recommended prescription high fiber food.  She refused to eat it (and so did all our other kitties).  We gave up.  I looked online and found that fancy feast had suddenly started to make many kitties sick, so we stopped giving fancy feast.  We bought high quality one dollar per can catfood.  We switched back to the Purina One sensitive systems catfood we’d kept primarily because it was the only thing that didn’t make our late Big Kitty throw up.

We moved.  Little Kitty started throwing up more and having constant super stinky diarrhea.

We took her to another vet.  The vet diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome.

Step 1:  Try single protein catfood for a week or two.   We went through a number of these.  They did not help.  Mackerel seemed to do better (not perfect), but it was only available at the whole foods several towns away and you’re not supposed to feed cats exclusively on fish.  We also tried human grade food available at the grocery (chicken, beef), but that didn’t help.  In fact, poultry seemed to bring out the worst symptoms.

Step 2:  Try exotic single protein catfood with different carbs (like peas!).  We tried venison.  No luck.  We tried Quail.  No luck.  I think we tried some other birds.  We tried really hard to find a pet shop willing to source rabbit (or kangaroo) in a smaller size than a flat, but although they could order rabbit they kept not ordering it (possibly because rabbits are pets and not catfood, but they didn’t want to you know, flat out refuse.  Or possibly incompetence.)

Nice kitty started losing weight.  We took her back to the vet.

Step 3:  Hydrolyzed prescription hard catfood.  For this they do something to chicken that is like what they do to cow milk in baby formula.  After a couple weeks it seemed to help.  She’s still not perfect, but she throws up less, her poo is more solid (though disturbingly singl-colored).  She’s still skinny, but not frighteningly so.

That, however, is not the end of this story.  More next Monday ($ is involved…)

Cute kitten pictures!

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Would you rather


a dog that will not stop barking all night (whether inside or out, though if outside the neighbors will call the police ~10pm)


a cat that occasionally pees on things that are not hir litterbox (for example, your bedspread or the couch)?

Why?  (Answers do not need to be in Haiku.)


Here are my kittens on the way to their forever homes!  They are all over 2 lbs and fixed now.  Individual (-ish) portraits taken for the adoption coordinator:

Kitten #1 on the left:

girl - black with white paws

Kitten #2 in the front:

 girl - black

Kitten #3:

girl - white and blackand another shot of this same kitten because it is cute:

portraits 017

Kitten #4 who would not hold still: boy - black

And kitten #5:

boy - brown tabby

Happy new homes, kittens!


Because everybody cares about my life as much as I do.  (Not really!)


After one week at the new daycare, DC2 decided ze loved it.  Ze proudly proclaimed that ze had friends and named some.  Dropping off only took a little lingering.  After two weeks, ze stopped having nightmares.  Dropoffs became, “Yeah mom, bye, whatever” (though more in body language than words) and instead of clinging and crying ze complained about getting hugged if my coat was wet from rain.  Ze informed us that ze loves hir teachers.  Every day when we pick hir up ze says, “I had a good day.”  Since starting, hir eczema has also been entirely gone, which makes me suspect that they’re a lot better about making sure that ze doesn’t accidentally eat wheat.  Either that or there’s some topical allergen ze isn’t being exposed to in the new place (that just happened to not always be present at the old place).

High quality daycare is amazing and awesome.  What a difference!  I am a bit worried about next year though… I feel like we haven’t quite been fair with DC2 compared to DC1 who never had to experience a bad schooling experience.

Nice kitty who sometimes pees on cloth:

So far we’ve tried having 4 litterboxes for 2 kittens (6 litterboxes for 3 cats, but the other two are in the utility room instead of the master bathroom the kittens use as home base).  One covered litterbox (formerly 2 covered litterboxes), 3 uncovered.  3 with standard litter, 1 with special pine litter.  Different depths of litter.  Scooped every single night whether they need it or not.

They stay in the master bathroom (~100 sq feet, lots of windows, cupboards, scratching posts, a cat house, etc.) overnight until the late afternoon.  This keeps our older kitty from feeling overwhelmed and has allowed us to minimize pee damage.  They’re used to it and willingly go back to their home-base at night when it’s time to go.  If we let them out earlier they often just stay in the room.

We’ve tried not leaving cloth out, for example, putting our bedsheets away before letting the kittens out.

We’ve tried litter retraining (not letting the kittens out of the master bathroom while we’re out of town for a few days).

All of these have worked to decrease the amount of peeing on things, but none eliminated it.

The most recent thing that we still have our fingers crossed for was Prozac.  Nice kitty did not like being pilled at all, and while on Prozac she would hide from us and mostly stay under our bed or in the master bath during their family time.  The vet said to try it for two weeks.  During those two weeks she didn’t pee on anything (other than the litter, presumably), even though it seemed to make her more anxious rather than less anxious!

After the two weeks, we stopped the Prozac, because nice kitty really hated being pilled, and the vet said it was possible that even after stopping Prozac after the two weeks her peeing on cloth habit might also be gone.  So far so good.  But we keep waiting to find something peed on.

So those are my updates.  Fun times.